You can get earthquake early warning in three ways in Washington
Washington residents and visitors now have an additional way to receive seconds of warning before earthquake shaking arrives, giving them time to drop, cover and hold on to protect themselves. The MyShake App, which has already been delivering alerts in California and Oregon, will be available in Washington as of Jan. 26, 2022.
Designed by the University of California, Berkeley seismologists and engineers, the MyShake App is now available for FREE to download to IOS users through the Apple App Store and through GooglePlay for Android phones.
The MyShake App is funded by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). Officials with the Washington Emergency Management Division worked with Cal OES experts to ensure that the app has additional protective action information for tsunamis before being rolled out in Washington state.
“Getting seconds of warning before an earthquake strikes may not sound like much, but it is plenty of time to drop, cover and hold on to protect yourself,” said Maximilian Dixon, the geologic hazards supervisor for the Washington Emergency Management Division. “Practicing how to drop, cover and hold on as soon as you get an alert, or feel earthquake shaking, will help you to do it even faster. I’d like to thank Cal OES for their amazing partnership and providing this service for free to our residents and visitors.”
Alerts based on information from the USGS ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system are already available to all mobile phones through the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system and/or through a built-in-earthquake alerting system on the Android Operating System. MyShake provides a third option that may be a faster way for users to get an earthquake alert on their phones than the WEA system. Users can learn more about the different options available at mil.wa.gov/alerts.
The app as well as Android’s built-in system will deliver alerts to people for earthquakes exceeding magnitude 4.5 which will cause light to strong shaking in their area. As a comparison, the WEA system is expected to send alerts for earthquakes larger than a 5.0 which cause moderate to strong shaking. See this chart for details. Additionally, the app is also available in Spanish. It is the same app, if your phone language is set to Spanish, the app will appear in Spanish.
“Accessing tools such as the MyShake app will help you, your family and community be better prepared and have a more positive outcome in the event of an earthquake,” said Christina Curry, Chief Deputy Director of Cal OES. “We are pleased to share this resource with our West Coast neighbors.”
The app has been downloaded more than 1.6 million times since it was launched in late 2019. It has successfully delivered alerts to users before shaking for several California earthquakes since its official release. Most recently, the Earthquake Early Warning system provided warning to about half a million phones, for a magnitude 6.2 earthquake near Petrolia, California on Dec. 20.
The ShakeAlert® Earthquake Early Warning system, run by the U.S. Geological Survey in partnership with the Universities of Washington, Oregon, California-Berkeley and Caltech, uses ground motion sensors in all three states to detect earthquakes that have occurred and automatically notifies residents and visitors so that they can “drop, cover and hold on” in advance of ground shaking. The Earthquake Early Warning system has been activated in Washington state providing public alerts to mobile phones since its rollout on May 4, 2021.
You can learn about the three different alerting options and get detailed instructions on how to enable them at mil.wa.gov/alerts.
(News Release from Washington Emergency Management Division)